“Stay a Hippie” or Summary of Digital Marketing Ideas Presented on Webit Congress Sofia 2011


Hello bloggers, business owners and all web marketing curious people, here is the promised summary of interesting data from Webit Congress Sofia 2011 that took place on 26-27th October. Intuitively, digital marketing was the topic I was most interested in. I have tried, where possible, to extract the points and statistics that I found interesting and present them organized by topic rather than report presentation-by-presentation.

1. Is TV losing ground to Internet+Mobile?
2. Was 2011 finally ‘the year of mobile’?
3. Sys_error – too much information to take into consideration!

Webit Congress

Webit Congress, courtesy of

Is TV losing ground to Internet+Mobile?

First of all, various presenters pointed out that TV is still the most important advertising media – however with a big disclaimer. Unarguably, TV viewership has increased steadily throughout the last 10 years. As Andrew Felbert from The Nielsen Company pointed out, this is simply because TV gets better and better – HDTV, 3DTV, more channels to choose from (apparently, over 1000 channels is nothing out of the ordinary package in England), DVD and video on demand, Internet connectivity are all recent developments in the TV that help it stay fit. Also, the sheer number of TV’s per household has grown, so that contributes to increased TV usage, too.

On the other hand, the act of watching TV itself becomes less and less active in favor of greater media multitasking. This is a big disclaimer to be taken into consideration and in no case underestimated when reading figures about TV’s leading role in the advertising industry. For example, according to statistics presented by Mr. Felbert, 59% of the people who have both TV and the Internet tend to use them at the same time. 50% of people who do this type of mutlitasking are on Facebook, the rest are usually on a search engine or online shopping. Also, you cannot expect a viewer to quietly sit through a premier TV show like before and obediently, want it or not, watch through the commercial breaks. Now, there is an exponential increase in Twittering during these shows, about the shows themselves, especially during commercial breaks. This presents a huge opportunity for advertising on mobile and the Internet during these timeslots, targeting the same audience that the shows would target. The passiveness of TV watching is even greater according to Miroslav Yanev from MediaPro Entertainment, who said that a huge number of people who have access to mobile Internet don’t actually watch the TV while it is running but are on some app instead.

To sum up the landscape of TV marketing: yes, TV is still there, sitting on top of the digital advertisement pyramid, and has plenty of technological innovations to stay strong for the next 10 years. However, advertisers should be well aware of and capitalize on the greater and greater passiveness of TV watching that we have seen develop last several years in favor of media multitasking. Capitalize on the flexibility, diversity and the amazing opportunities for targeting that Internet and Mobile presence offers. Get these people facebook-ing with their TV on somewhere in the background.

Was 2011 finally ‘the year of mobile’?

Another largely discussed topic was that of mobile usage. A common note amongst a few presenters was that “every year is supposed to be the year of mobile but we have not seen it happen yet”. The mobile Internet usage has not been able to live up to these expectations, but cut mobile some slack – they are very high ones. They are high for a reason though – statistics shown by Andrew Felbert from Nielsen claim that mobile Internet usage has been growing more than twice faster than laptop/desktop Internet usage over the past few years. This comes as no surprise – mobile is still emerging and it is only natural that it will grow much faster relative to its smaller size. It has to grow even faster in order to make it real big though. Bottom line is that mobile is there, has a strong presence, offers great, largely unexploited opportunities for personalized ads and is going to be an even bigger player next year. Mr. Felbert pointed out that “many emerging markets are moving straight to mobile”. So we never know, 2012 might finally turn out to be the “year of mobile”?

Webit Congress

Webit Congress, courtesy of

Sys_error – too much information to take into consideration!

Other interesting topics were the increasing complexity of data available to advertisers and the way advertisements are delivered in an ever more complex digital medium, full of different touch-points. As Mr. Yanev best put it, “today we receive so much information that we can’t begin to digest it all. It’s paralyzing”. Of course, he was referring to the great volume of statistics and data which could be utilized to optimize and better target digital marketing campaigns, especially online and mobile. In that regard, Timotej Gala from Httpool was ruthless in his judgment of the choice of tactics that should be used for SEM – “manual workflow = missed opportunities”. He described the process of SEM to go through the following steps:
Data management & integration–> Campaign management –> Targeting management –> Bid management
At OptiLocal we share his view that although it is possible for a business owner to manage this process, it will be hard to do in an as efficient manner as a hired professional. He also pointed out that tracking this process and providing progress reports to the client is very important – another point on which we at OptiLocal agree, hence our providing such reports.

Odysseas Ntotsikas from ThinkDigital expressed concerns about the increased complexity mentioned above, too. According to him, it calls for what he calls “scientification” of the marketing process. He thinks that a marketer in the modern world should excel in the precise sciences, such as data analysis and that people with “softer skills” will not be as needed. I can definitely see where he comes from and I have to admit that this is very pleasing to my ears having in mind that my education is in programming and mathematics. However, I hope that this “sceitnification” does not go overboard – I have heard many allegations from student mates, the media and even a TED speech, that some of the blame for the World Economic Crisis should be assessed to the excessive hiring of physics, maths and computer science professionals on Wall street.

Mr. Ntotsikas did not in any way downplay the importance of creative talent – in fact he said that such professionals are empowered in the modern day. Rich media and videos such as branded content (which according to Mr. Yanev is one of the most effective modern forms of advertising) more than ever need this creative force. If done well enough, they can double normal marketing metrics. Another idea of Mr. Ntotsikas that I really liked is that modern marketers need to be “hippie”:

“…the idea that our brand is our brand and no one else can touch it is obsolete. We see a lot of examples of the company working with the community to develop the brand. If you don’t have a hippie attitude of working with your partners, you are not going to succeed.”

Always stay flexible and open to new solutions, always try to deliver advertisements to a good variety of platforms, never underestimate mobile, use profound data analysis and tracking for better targeting, work closely with content producers and be a hippie! That’s as far as my summarizing skills go!

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